The Columbia Journalism Review has compiled their list of the Worst Journalism of 2014, a task which nobody should envy given the size of the fetid pool they had to wade through to identify the “winners” of this prestigious honor. As Legal Insurrection notes, one of the most notable recipients on the list is none other than Don Lemon. But does he really deserve that distinction?
Look, I’m not here to claim that Lemon is the modern day personification of Herb Morrison, but the some of the complaints lodged against the CNN evening anchor seem a tad bit suspicious. During the early days of the Michael Brown coverage, there were more than a few complaints that Lemon wasn’t toeing the narrative media line and dared to ask questions about why Brown was robbing a convenience store. He drew even more ire from his liberal peers when he suggested that some changes might be in order in the black community as well as among the police.
He went on to criticize people who have looted businesses.
“You’re distracting from the legacy of this young man, you’re distracting from the bigger issue of a police department who are disconnected from the people they’re supposed to protect and serve.”
The CNN host is no stranger to talking about race on air, and he has sparked plenty of controversy in the past. Last year, for example, he said that Bill O’Reilly had “a point” when the Fox News host went on a rant about problems in the black community, and chimed in with five things he said people of color should be doing.
All of that was bad enough for the liberal media observers, but apparently his comments in November about smelling marijuana in the air at the scene of the protests in Ferguson were just a bridge too far. The reaction was visceral and immediate, with everyone insisting that it was just about the most inappropriate thing he could have possibly said.
Lost in that conversation was the fact that he had just been asked by Anderson Cooper to “describe the scene” as the crowds were boiling over. He talked about the flames, the chants, the noise and – seemingly as a side note – the smells out on the streets. The guy is a reporter. If he smells pot on the breeze, was he supposed to ignore it? Sadly, the groupthink consensus was that he most certainly should have, as some facts have no place in reporting when you’re trying to establish a narrative.
With so many other options to pick from – and we don’t have to look much further than Carol Costello for a starting point – is Don Lemon really the worst in journalism that they could find? Well… okay. Asking of the airplane might have been swallowed by a black hole was probably a bit much, but still…